There’s no denying that Washingtonians deal with some of the worst gridlock in the country.
A 2016 global traffic report placed Washington, D.C. at sixth worst in the nation, falling behind Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami, respectively. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, D.C. drivers spend a total of 61 hours each week in traffic, and drivers spend close to $1,700 per year on congestion-related costs.
That’s why Uber has decide to expand its carpooling service to the Maryland suburbs, the company announced today.
The service, which Uber launched in March, allows drivers to share their commute to and from work each day with the hope that people looking to head the same way will opt to grab a ride from a neighbor instead of hopping inside their own vehicle. Uber Commute debuted in Northern Virginia this summer, and with the expansion into Maryland, the service is now available throughout the DMV.
Drivers will receive between $5-$10 for each rider, and riders will pay somewhere within that range for a ride, the company said. Drivers can make up to $20 per day commuting with their neighbors. In the months since launching the pilot program in the D.C. metro area, Uber reports that over 74 percent of riders and drivers continued to use Commute after their first trip.
The new program is seen as a low-cost alternative to UberPool, the company’s carpool option that allows drivers to pick up multiple riders for a lower ride fare. An UberPool trip that costs $15-$25 would cost $5-$10 with Commute, the company told The Washington Post back when it launched in March.
The Post also reported that Uber Commute drivers are not subjected to the same background screening process as regular Uber drivers because Commute drivers aren’t doing this for profit in the company’s eyes. Uber likens the program to a neighbor paying their fair share of gas or parking costs.
The project started as an in-house pilot program at Uber D.C.’s office, and when it garnered popularity with local employees, the company decided to spin it out as a consumer product.